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Exercise & Fitness

Americans lag on exercise

October 6, 2010
  • By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

About the Author

photo of Patrick J. Skerrett

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Pat Skerrett is the editor of STAT's First Opinion and host of the First Opinion podcast. He is the former editor of the Harvard Health blog and former Executive Editor of Harvard Health Publishing. Before that, he was editor of … See Full Bio
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Miguel | forja
February 16, 2012

I enjoyed your post. You already have a fan more.

Ty Brown
February 8, 2012

Excersice is very important, and more people need to get out there and be active. I believe that having a dog to excerise with can help you get out there and enjoy your time excerising.

February 7, 2012

Great motivating article here. Our best defense against disease, depression etc is exercise. Building muscle and strength training are key components to a strong defense against disease but also to injury. Consistent exercise leads to strong bones, joints and a healthier cardiovascular system. Again, great article here!

pritesh surve
January 23, 2012

I totally agree with this containt…Thank you for sharing this good information….

January 14, 2012

advantages of exercise

Love it or hate it, the advantages of exercise remain undeniable.

These include:

A healthy heart and lungs – stamina
A healthy skeleton with strong bones
An increase in strength, developing lean muscle mass, which burns fat and makes daily tasks easier
Increases our brain power
Healthy skin
Better digestion
Reduced stress
Increased emotional well-being, such as runner’s high
Increased emotional and physical resilience
Stronger immunity with less susceptibility to infection
Reduced incidence of chronic disease
Improved posture
Increased agility and flexibility
Reduced incidence of falling
Reduced incidence of fractures, sprains, or strains from a fall and reduced recovery time from injury
Increased energy
Improved sleep

Green Planet Grass
January 11, 2012

Exercise is truly very important it does not only promote wellness but can also help us have a good night sleep.


December 30, 2011

Well said PJ, however, despite the lack of people exercising compared to those that do, the overall concern should always be moving towards a healthier lifestyle. For example, many people who exercise still smoke, many of them also eat foods that are unhealthy, which to me does not have any benefit. If they are consuming things that are benficial to thewir bodies, to much exercise could do some damage. People need to adopt healthy lifestyles that includes healthy foods, and exercise, which will untimately lead to weight loss.

December 3, 2011

Agree, we as a nation need to be more active. Less health issues means less strain on the health system and more money in our pockets at the end of the day!

November 30, 2011

Knowing what to do and how to get things done is usually very important. Naturally, it really is also very important to know the way in which to get it done. But that is not enough by itself; it does not conclude there. Knowing just what exactly NOT to do and what mistakes to avoid is also important. The simplest way to achieve that is to discover what mistakes others have made when seeking lawsuit loans and settlement loans so you can steer clear of making those same mistakes.

November 22, 2011

most people dont understand that being ‘in shape’ is a combination of losing fat, AND gaining muscle.

Marc Azada
October 28, 2011

I absolutely agree with you. People need to identify their goals in order for them to reach their desired weight.

October 26, 2011

“Exercise is the magic bullet against heart disease” – thats my new favourite quote….,

October 25, 2011

I am very active and do exercise every morning to keep myself healthy and strong. Or at-least do 30 minutes exercise everyday.

Michael Christopher
October 21, 2011

I couldn’t agree more. Americans are fat and overweight. Im a personal trainer in Hudson County NJ and I get interested people all the time saying that they do all this exercise and lead an active life and for the life of them they can’t figure out why they’re overweight, obese, can’t lose weight etc etc. So after an initial workout it’s pretty obvious that they’re not active at all. What they don’t realize is that you’re body gets used to the same activity after you a do it a few times. People will say, oh well I walk outside at lunch everyday…but they walk the same distance with absolutely no intensity. I tell them to take the stairs at their job and you would think I held a gun to their mother’s head. American’s are lazy pure and simple and they always expect a gym or a trainer to reverse overnight what they’ve been doing to themselves for decades. Ain’t gonna happen. So start off with small things like taking the steps instead of using the elevator. Workout with a trainer that demands the best out of you. Cut out 1 fast food meal per week and replace it with a simple protein and veggie. Get more sleep at night. Simple. You’ll start to notice serious improvements to your energy level. Losing weight, staying in shape, and being fit is not thermomolecular science by any stretch of the imagination. it’s just hard to break old habits and fight off peer pressure…which by some standards is way more difficult than thermomolecular science could ever be. Hit me up at Healthy Body Makeover dot com. Take care guys.

October 11, 2011

I totally agree with the author. Consistency is key
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Sean Gunner
October 5, 2011

Some disturbing statistics there! I think one of the barriers to fitness is a resistance to going out to exercise, specifically to a gym which is most likely full, noisy and also filled with body beautifuls who, by their very preening presence, make you feel worse.

I’ve found that having the right exercise equipment at home is a great solution. Firstly, you have no excuse – your gym equipment is right there. Secondly, it is so much easier to put in 20 minutes of exercise between arriving home from work and having dinner or chilling and watching TV. In fact, you can chill and watch the TV programme of your choice, read, listen to your own choice of music, whatever you want whilst getting fitter. Nothing builds confidence more than being fit and feeling good about yourself physically.
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October 4, 2011

Great article! Probably the most interesting statistic was the fact that only 18% that were surveyed do both cardio and strength training. I bet if you asked them if both were important the majority of them would say yes. I recently covered the different careers one could obtain with a sports medicine degree in a recent blog post. There is a big trend toward personal training and that should continue since obesity rates are at an all time high.

September 27, 2011

Yes our kids have it way to easy. Our mom and dads would want us to come in but we stayed out as long as we could. Now they just want to sit around play games or just do nothing. Seem like the mothers and fathers need to get on their kids a little harder and force them out to get some exercise.

Best Way to Tone Abs
September 16, 2011

P.J. it pains me to see so many obese people waddling the around the American landscape. And what really irks me is seeing all these children who are overweight at such a tender age.

Remember back when we were kids…

…All we did was grab up a group of neighbor kids and run around outside all day. Too many video games and other distraction keeps children indoors.

We need a wake up call!

The only thing you need in your life is health.

Without it, you have nothing.

Martial Arts Anaheim
September 16, 2011

I totally agree. I recently started walking, not driving, my son to school and realized how out of shape I had become. Anyways, now i’m walking 2 miles per day.

Jasmin Espinoza
September 13, 2011

For some, exercise is really difficult routine…you outs, gyms, body pains. I’m lazy doing those stuff myself. But one thing I wont be tired doing is to walk around..with my kids in the park. I also walk my therapy dog every morning for 20 minutes which I think is more than enough to get what my body need. So you see..we can have fun, and the same time be healthy.

No matter how little the exercise can still make a difference. Right?

September 13, 2011

Its not only eating well and balanced but also exercise that lead to better health

September 7, 2011

Great comments. Exercise is very important for good health.

September 5, 2011

It’s amazing that we here in America want to be first in everything no matter what. This is not all ways good as we can see in this report. Come on America let get up and move it. And keep the body and mind in motion.

September 4, 2011

Thanks for this great article. What else is their to say, so many great comments.

Chad Waterbury Fan
September 3, 2011

OMG this is so true. A lot of my friends gets in the way, imagine that? friends are now becoming lazy and a source of lag. I think it’s the concept. hanging around with some lazy friends is not entirely bad, but you may want to hang out with new ones who are prone to fitness. making friends is better when you get this, but anyhow this is my idea.

Great post overall, exercise should be a priority, it brings so many good things in life.

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August 26, 2011

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August 26, 2011

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August 25, 2011

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auto style
August 23, 2011

yes sure , more Exercise , more health. .

August 17, 2011

Couldn’t agree with you more now how to we get the kids outdoors and exercising. I know life long exercise has helped me in many ways at 59 now am still just as active as I was when I was 30 still running and competing.
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Gordon Franson
July 27, 2011

It’s interesting, I just finished reading another blog and commented on the fact that gadgets now a days are both good and bad in the world and it is totally dependant upon how they are used just as over exercising can do damage. The real problem is when someone gets on the cellphone or laptop the time seems to go by so fast that they either forgot or ran out of time to keep there body in shape as well as their mind. Like everything you have to be aware and use moderation in using your gadgets and most of all remember the rest of your body needs attention to.

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July 25, 2011

I think it all starts with bad childhood habits. If there’s one thing that is difficult as a parent to do, is get health and fitness to compete with convenience, quick and easy and electronic everything.

July 13, 2011

personally I enjoy martial arts as a way of keeping fit, as it has the added benefits of keeping one flexible, coordinated and also keeps the reflexes tuned, so great for us older folk.

Dr. Marika Zoll
May 16, 2011

I am an avid researcher. I use alternative medicine to heal my dogs, but also a diabetic husband. He is a type 1, an occurrence as a result of a genetic disorder where his body stores iron, hence his pancreas stopped working. Simply, in my observations of him, whenever, he exercises, he looks better, feels better and takes less insulin at meal time. After years of watching, it cannot be a coincidence. So I stress exercise, even if moderate for a healthier lifestyle. Ways to exercise that are “fun” rather than work is key. I advocate “hula hooping” as one of those techniques. Visit my blog where I advocate this and perhaps buying a hula hoop for the best price. I got excited when I found a hoop that folded up. This revealed more possibilities of taking my exercise tool with me. The hoop can now rest next to the ball in the trunk of my car. Maintaining a hew habit is key. Fad diets and gym makeovers don’t last. BE healthy!
Dr. Marika Zoll
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April 26, 2011

Hi P.J, i think every one should exercise and try martial arts because of the great benefits in the mental and physical aspects.

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April 11, 2011

Couldn’t agree with you more now how to we get the kids outdoors and exercising. I know life long exercise has helped me in many ways at 59 now am still just as active as I was when I was 30 still running and competing.
Another p[lace to get good infomation about the benfits of exercise is at.

Utah DUI Attorney
March 10, 2011

Exercise , I agree is the first and foremost thing that has to be followed with a lot of commitment …In the long run you will reap benefits…
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February 23, 2011

Swimming is undeniably one of the best exercise. Swimming workouts help us to improve our swimming skill as well as our muscles. Thanks for sharing this thoughts. I will keep a copy of this for my reference.
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Gain Muscle Not Fat
February 10, 2011

It does seem that people find it more and more difficult to make time to do some sort of exercise every week. But what is even more disturbing to me is the lack of exercise the kids seem to be getting these days.

This makes me sound old (and maybe I am) but, when I was a kid there was this thing called the Presidential Fitness Test that we all had to take. During the year we prepared to pass it and were required to PARTICIPATE in gym class 3 times a week. This meant soccer, running, basketball, volleyball etc.

The other day I heard a somewhat overweight teenager say that they don’t have to participate in the sports- they just walk around the track (at their own pace, not a brisk pace) for the entire class period. What happened to learning to enjoy exercise?

It is no wonder that we as adults are ceasing to exercise if we never learned to enjoy it.

P.J. Skerrett
February 10, 2011

For kids, running around and riding bikes and wrestling isn’t exercise — it’s just plain old fun. Put activity in a high school gym class, though, and some of the fun gets drained out. The Presidential Fitness Test is now the President’s Challenge. Some schools still do it, but it’s now open to other groups and there’s one for adults.

Pat Skerrett

Anthony Flatt
May 19, 2011

Great article!

I think parents need to do a better job getting themselves an their kids out of the house and involved in some kind of organized sports. Because of crime in our neighborhoods our kids do not get to go outside and play like we did when we were kids. I use to leave the house in the morning and not return until the street lights came on. Our kids are missing that. The next best alternative is to get the into a sport that practices 2 to 3 times a week. My kids wrestle, swim and play soccer. We have a sporting practice or event to go to practically every day.

Anthony Flatt
Chairman Team Georgia USA Wrestling

office supplies - health freak
February 3, 2011

Exercise is good. Yet so often neglected. Quality of life can be so much improved by exercise. Muscle building, cardiovascular work and even yoga have their benefits. However, other things matter too like the pollution in environment and even more importantly our emotions and thoughts. I know people who smoke drink and eat junk food with no exercise and are still living at 70! It all depends on fate and whatever time comes to exit this world is the time to leave. My advice exercise or no exercise just enjoy life as best as one can.

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January 12, 2011

Hutch 1962, I have certainly found fitness to be a challenge with my kids as well. Life is always a balancing act, but be sure to set aside time to take care of yourself and you will be a better father for it in the long run.

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January 11, 2011

I have found that no matter how much exercise I do on a consistent basis, I do not lose weight unless I add the weight lifting component.
My biggest barriers are 7 and 11 year old kids who want my time and attention.

January 2, 2011

I am seriously going to start using all of that! Thank you so much, I am not even kidding! There is nothing that I hate more than coming up with content all the time to barely keep our real estate blog up. It’s just so time consuming – so thanks again!

los angeles personal injury attorney
November 30, 2010

Excellent article you got there.You did a marvelous job covering this topic. I love reading blogs like because it keeps me informed and happy. Thank you for this great post and making my day bright.

November 18, 2010

We need to teach our kids at a young age safe and fun alternatives to living a healthy lifestyle. Alternative transportation is a step we can take to help our environment as well as health as a whole country. We have determined what our problems are and will continue to be unless we stand up and change. Many great people regardless of their lifestyles are opening their eyes to this. I myself ride around on electric bikes to do my fair share of preservation. You can help too. 30 minutes a day on a bike is fun and easy!

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Robert Johnson
November 14, 2010

I agree with you all. I feel like many of us make too many excuses why we can’t workout. For example, I don’t have the time I think may be one of the biggest, but if you can dedicate at least 30 min. a day to cardio it can pay big dividends for over all health!

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Tom Taylor
November 10, 2010

I agree with Owen, our perception of ‘exercise’ is of hard work, when in fact exercise can be really really fun. I believe if we change people’s perceptions we can get the nation fit and healthy.


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Owen Marcus
October 27, 2010

I agree exercise is critical to good health. I suspect one reason we are not seeing more of it is that we need to change the ‘exercise’ we do. Going to the gym is not fun for many, so they don’t exercise. Too many men and women don’t consider just going for a walk, which is great exercise.

Junk Car Towing Mississauga
October 14, 2010

Exercise is a great burden for some and formulating excuses just to ignore a small time of exercise is easier than to experience a sweaty physical challenges. People today forget the role of exercise in their growth and health, they solely depend on their vitamins and food diet but exercising plays an important function in maintaining a healthy body. Also because of strict schedules and bulk of stress, sleeping or resting is chosen that draining the body from physical routines.

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